For all my big "I'm over preschool, it's no big deal" talk, this morning was Hard. Very Hard. A whole entire hour of Hard!
I told Ike he was going to school this morning as I got him dressed, and his entire face lit up at the word and he very literally gasped with delight and clapped his hands.
"Well," I added, "for an HOUR, anyway. Let's not get ridiculous about it."
I pulled up to the school's drop-off and a teacher calmly collected Ike right from his carseat and carried him up a walkway, towards the classroom door. He and I stared at each other through the windshield. What just happened? Did that just happen? I'm not sure how I feel about what just happened.
I drove home and promptly got ridiculous about it. The rearview reflected nothing but empty carseats and boosters — I'd sent Noah off on the bus carrying a giant posterboard project we completed last night; he refused my offer to drive him to school to protect it because he wanted to show it off to his friends. Next, I dropped Ezra at the curb of the school's primary campus, and he'd bounded off towards the door (with his extraneous backpack and lunchbag, natch) without a look back at me.
And now my baby, too.
Ike's entire first hour of toddler-flavor preschool was barely enough time for me to get back home to shower and wipe the breakfast crumbs and syrup residue off my counters, but it was still enough to twinge. My chest felt tight and my arms just felt empty.
Which: Christ, chill out. Most mornings around this time I'd be handing duties over to a babysitter anyway and plopping down with my laptop and all my other professional-ish (and not-so-professional-ish) duties, but Ike would still be THERE. HERE. Poking his head in my room or downstairs singing. Maybe not in my primary care but still in my...uh...general domain. This was different. Too different. And way too soon.
(I told you I got ridiculous about it.)
When I arrived back at his school he was sitting at an impossibly tiny table hammering some wooden balls into a tower of ramps. The teacher reported that he did very well, though there were some tears when he first arrived and realized I wasn't coming in with him.
I REPEAT: There were some tears when he first arrived and realized I wasn't coming in with him.
I'm sure this makes me a terrible asshole of a mother, but I was...relieved to hear that. Maybe even a twinge of downright pleased. He noticed. He cared. He gave a rat's ass.
I missed him and he missed me. Good.
He turned towards the door at the sound of my voice and his face lit up for a second time. "Go?" he asked. "Yes?"
"Yes," I said. "Let's go home."
"Yessssss!" he agreed, and ran over to hug me.